Black Mask 2: City of Masks (2001)

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Released 10-Jun-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Dolby Digital Trailer-City
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Love and a Bullet, xXx
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 97:11
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (57:02) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Hark Tsui
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Tobin Bell
Jon Polito
Teresa Herrera
Tyler Mane
Andrew Bryniarski
Scott Adkins
Rob Van Dam
Sean Marquette
Oris Erhuero
Robert Allen Mukes
Michael Bailey Smith
Traci Lords
Andy On
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI ? Music J.M. Logan


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Russian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Dutch
Arabic
Bulgarian
Croatian
Czech
Danish
Finnish
Greek
Hebrew
Hindi
Hungarian
Norwegian
Polish
Russian
Slovenian
Swedish
Turkish
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    I was interested in this movie because I got Black Mask (the original movie) fairly cheaply, and it wasn't too bad — Jet Li was rather good as the hero.

    You need not have seen the original film to enjoy this one. In fact, not having seen it may be an advantage, because you won't be tripping up on the inconsistencies. Anything you need to know about the set-up is conveyed within the first five minutes. Don't sweat about the set-up too much, though, because they don't feel obliged to be completely consistent to it through the course of the movie.

    There are several players in this film, so I've divided them up into groups for easy reference:

    I will try to explain the situation. Black Mask was created by Zeus' group as a perfect warrior, but has rebelled because they are bad people (think Dark Angel). Zeus is not happy. Black Mask is looking for a geneticist who can help him with some of the problems he has encountered post-rebellion. The problem is, Zeus isn't keen on him getting help, so he is sending Lang (and his mob of gun-happy types) out to eliminate the geneticists before Black Mask can get to them. Black Mask manages to get to Marco (a strange name for a woman) and saves her. Marco has a problem in that she freezes solid whenever a man touches her (let's not try to understand that).

    Meanwhile, Moloch has developed a similar (but inferior) way of genetically modifying fighters using animal or plant DNA, and has coerced King into getting a bunch of wrestlers to try it. Moloch hasn't disclosed all the negative features of the process. We get to see Iguana run amok as a consequence of one of those negatives, and Black Mask intervenes, but can't help Iguana. When Moloch sees Black Mask he sees an opportunity to circumvent one of the worst side-effects of his process (a small thing — the subjects drop dead after a while...).

    So now we have Marco hiding with Black Mask, who is now being chased by Lang (on Zeus's orders), by Moloch (for his DNA), by Chameleon (for revenge), and by the other modified wrestlers (because he's after something that they are after, too). To make matters even more twisted, Lang concocts a "genetic bomb" — let's not try to understand that part...

    Confused? That's understandable. You don't really need to understand. Just watch the fights and the special effects without trying to keep track of who is on which side — it's simpler! The plot isn't coherent, anyway. This film makes a lot less sense than Black Mask. I really can't recommend it.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The DVD is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1. It is 16x9 enhanced. That's very close to the original and intended aspect ratio.

    The image is generally sharp enough and clear, although there are some shots badly affected by film grain. Film grain is mostly not troubling, however. There's fairly good shadow detail, and no low-level noise.

    There are some fairly impressive visual effects, but there are some poor ones, too, like the one at 17:32.

    Colour is quite reasonable, and well-rendered. There are no colour-related artefacts.

    There are lots of film artefacts, but they are almost all quite small.

    There is surprisingly little aliasing, and no moire, which is good. There's some light shimmer on out-of-focus (background or foreground) objects, but it's not too distracting. There are no MPEG artefacts.

    There are subtitle in 18 languages, including English, plus English for the Hearing Impaired. I watched the English subtitles — they are easy to read, fairly accurate, and generally fairly well-timed to the sound, although sometimes the timing is a bit off.

    The disc is single-sided and dual-layered, formatted RSDL. The layer change comes at 57:02, and it is not bad, although on a slow player it will be quite obvious.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are two soundtracks on this disc, being English and, unusually, Russian. Both soundtracks are Dolby Digital 5.1. The Russian soundtrack is not a proper dub, in that it has Russian dialogue dubbed over the top of the English (you can hear the English in the background). I only listened to the English soundtrack in full.

    The dialogue is mostly clear, but there are some words that are not at all easy to make out. There are some minor audio sync issues — it looks like some of the English was dubbed over another language. There are a few passages in Chinese.

    The music, from J.M. Logan, is an assortment of musical clichιs. Rarely have you heard quite so many clichιs in one film.

    The surrounds are used extensively and well. This is a very immersive mix, and nicely engineered. The subwoofer isn't used as heavily, but it gets its chances to shine.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    This movie starts with a disclaimer that the views expressed in the interviews and commentary are the opinions of the speakers — the usual guff. Normally, though, it only appears when the disc contains interviews and/or commentaries. This disc contains neither...

Menu

    The menu is static and silent. It's simple enough to use.

Theatrical Trailer (1:25)

    A trailer that makes this film look a lot better than it really is.

Trailers

    Trailers for two other movies that someone who liked this might like:

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This film was released in Region 1 some time ago. It is equally lacking in extras, but it is reported as having a good transfer. The big problem is that the Region 1 disc is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. If nothing else, that makes the Region 4 disc better, because it is in the correct aspect ratio. However, I'm using the term better in a relative sense — neither version is recommended, because this is not a good film.

Summary

    A confused and unsatisfying film, presented reasonably well on DVD.

    The video quality is fairly good, but there are lots of small film artefacts.

    The audio quality is very good, with immersive surrounds.

    The extras are minimal.

There is an Official Distributor Comment available for this review.
read

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Thursday, February 12, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
The original Black Mask was a masterpiece compared to BM2!!! - Zinzan (This is my.... bio)
Warning. -